King James Version (KJV)


Susa time

Posted by Marius Oberholster on Thursday, April 7, 2016 Under: WIP
Hey all!!

That time of the week again and this week, I actually get to show you the city in motion. Last week I only got to show you some images (was still rendering at the time).

Before we get to the final video for the week, I would like to talk about what went into it.

- Sound effects
Crowd Sounds
   Now, this is nothing new, as you guys have all heard the tap on the table, Haman's feet and so on, but this specific week presented me with a challenge I initially felt overwhelmed by - Crowds!

Of course, when you're making a crowd, I know it's hard to believe, you don't even consider that this needs audio. I really didn't, haha. GOD gave the most creative idea: use existing recordings of myself (tutorials for example) and just layer those over each other with some pitch changes here and there and add the applause sound from the MIDI instruments. It worked perfectly!! The applause sound just lifts it up a tad and just makes it feel fuller and more positive, imo.

The horse still needs sound effects though, so that will come in due time.

Audio Consistency
   At one point this week, I saw that I had missed some audio. It was specifically around the part where Mordecai is led through the city on horseback. The next narration piece says that he came again to the king's gate, but Haman ran home. I didn't have that recorded...

When I did, the sound had a much richer and louder low end for some reason, so it didn't fit the original narration. Of course, for excellence sake, that needed fixing, so all of the narration was re-recorded and overwritten - but not so fast...

I saved the opening over the file that was supposed to be saying that Haman had then taken the clothes and arrayed Mordecai and led him through the street of the city... When I played it back, I had skipped ahead to that part and thought it was a codec error. Nope, not the codec, hahaha. Thankfully, I could just overwrite the correct segment and it's now right and the audio is consistent.

- Compositing
Working with two outlines systems
   In Blender, there are two built-in outline systems. The one is called Edge (very fast and renders with the image) and the other is Freestyle (very slow, but much more customizable). Technically, there is a third - generating additional outlines in the compositor too.

Early on, in the crowd's work, I knew the scale was not gonna work for Freestyle and I switched to edge. Only to realize later, that was not gonna work for Mordecai and Haman and the horse (real focal points of the scene). GOD helped me so well to combine Edge lines, compositing lines and Freestyle lines in a way that really harmonized. I am super thankful for the final result. All the outline work harmonizes beautifully!!

(Single screen shot of the compositing for the clouds, crowds, freestyle and background - low-res)

Particles glitch
   Despite the extreme efficiency involved in particles, like being able to really do absolutely massive scenes on a simple PC without rendering forever, they are by no means perfect.

I ran into a few snags. Some had solutions, others not yet.
1) Facing the wrong way
Since you have people facing the street, they had to be facing the street. That did not happen with the single mask I added for the crowds when I had the overall view of the city (fading from Haman's shocked expression). GOD had me simply adjust the original mask and make two new ones, so one would be for one side of the street and one for the other side. And of course, the other will still be the general random population.
   Much better result and they now faced the street, instead of simply waving to their peers, hahaha.

(when it was wrong)

2) Standing too close and stuck in other things.
Masking is not a perfect solution, because all your shapes are not the same size and you have random placement. In one frame, one of the guys was stuck inside a wall. You can't see it in the video, because it passes too fast. Another guy's arm was going through another's head, hahaha.
   When you use particles, do not expect it to behave flawlessly - it is about the overall effect. If you want fine detail in one section, do that manually, but don't get bothered by imperfect placements.

3) Stiff poses make the crowd scream fake
After last week's post, I saw that the women specifically had very stiff hand poses. It looked horrible and threw the whole thing off. The only problem was that the rig for the hand had already been removed (unavoidable, because whole groups don't work well in particles)! Enter GOD with the awesome suggestion to use the 3D cursor and proportional editing!! Hands fixed and they look much more at ease! Always have margin for things like this.
Fix what you can and leave the rest or try to hide it in clever camera angles - which brings me to my next point.

4) Standing too close for comfort
Hahaha, there were a few particle based characters that got a little too close for comfort. So, to prevent it from being prominent on-screen, I moved the camera. For the particular scene, that this was very obvious, the camera showing Mordecai and Haman and the horse from above, had to be moved further away. When the camera was close, it was super obvious. Now - if you don't know about it, you won't even know to look for it! GOD is so awesome!!!

- Animation
Haman running
   Oh dear, did GOD give me some winners here that now give me a chuckle, hahaha. It was one bad cycle after another. It was him slipping into the floor. Bouncing too high, bouncing not enough, looking like he was skating, moving too slow, etc. hahaha. It was insanely difficult to get the run cycle to look like it did in the video... GOD was so helpful to get it like that. Suggestion after suggestion on adjusting this and that and something else and finally right, after like 10 or so OpenGL renders (some of which were overwrites, so I only have 6 horrible ones and the last one, haha).

Horse animation
   Doing a horse's animation is not easy. I'm not someone who hangs around horses a lot, but I've paid attention to how they move. It's the very reason I hid most of his legs, hahaha. Since I'm fairly new to rigging, especially when I first made the horse, the legs tend to be a bit springy or snappy. When the IK is moved to a certain point, the leg joints would reverse and do all sorts of weird twists and pops.
   When doing the animation however, most of the snapping was sorted, but it was still too snappy for my taste, so I hid the legs. The resulting animation above, from the legs moving, really helps sell the horse, so I'm super grateful for it!

Procedural animation
   Most of you know that I really like to make use of what I call procedural animation. Think of this as blender handling animation as if it were controlled by procedural textures. In fact, one modifier is even called noise and has something like a blend type, haha.
   An absolutely brilliant feature, it enables you to cycle animation, lessen the frames per second, and lots of other things. In the animation, I made mostly use of the noise generation and cycling animation modifiers. Mordecai's animation, overall, was done using noise generation - like his head turning and jaw movement. If you have small things like that, that will loop for that Blend file, then use generation. You can of course fade it in and out, but it's usually best in small bites, hahaha.

- Modeling the next scene
Haman's house
   And of course, we finally get to see Haman's abode. Oh yes, he has one, sort of. Let's just say it's under construction or WIP status, hahaha. Check it out:

   That does not mean he lives alone in his big house. Oh no. In fact, it says in the end of chapter 6 that he had told his wife and his friends all that had happened to him and they gave him a prophecy that he would fall before Mordecai if he really is a Jew. Don't know how many friends I will need to make, but GOD will help me with that decision, like everything else in this video, haha.

Speaking of, here is the 9th edit - New animation starts after 1:52min.:

Have a great one and GOD bless!!!

In : WIP 

Tags: god  jesus  holy spirit  blender  make human  esther  esther 6  kjv  animation 

About Me

Marius Oberholster Hey all! I've been doing CG work full-time since 2011. GOD has been with me, supported me and taught me all the way. HE tells us to do all things as unto the LORD and that is my goal. I do whatever I believe the HOLY SPIRIT is leading me to do and it's not always easy, but it's always worth it to be obedient! JESUS is awesome!! If you don't know HIM yet, follow the link above!

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